10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in North Carolina You Must Explore

Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Explore the charm of North Carolina small towns - picturesque landscapes, historic main streets, and warm hospitality. Plan your scenic getaway today!

The small towns in North Carolina boast an array of attractions and activities waiting to be explored.

People who live in the state or travel through will find themselves amazed at the breathtaking landscapes in the charming small towns.

If you are an adventure seeker, you can visit the gorgeous mountain towns in the state and, if you love water activities, you can visit the cool beach towns.

This list will give you an idea of the most beautiful small towns in North Carolina to visit.

Best Small Towns in North Carolina

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1: Asheville

Flickr/Blake Lewis

One of the most charming small towns in North Carolina, Asheville will surprise many people because it has an artsy and edgy feel while still being quaint and cozy.

There are many locally-owned shops and art galleries throughout the town, as well as unique restaurants.

The nightlife can be exciting in Asheville because of the numerous entertainment venues in the town. In the background of all of this magnificence are the spectacular Appalachian Mountains.

Address: Asheville, NC

2: New Bern

New Bern
Flickr/Ken Lund

Both the Trent River and Neuse River are the backdrop for the historic town of New Bern. People love walking along the riverfront and stopping in the numerous boutiques and cafes.

The Civil War was prominent in New Bern, and everyone will enjoy visiting the battlegrounds and the historic cemeteries. New Bern is also the place where Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1898.

Address: New Bern, NC

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Boone is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina, and it is known as one of the best small towns in North Carolina to live after retirement. The town was named after the famous pioneer, Daniel Boone.

Appalachian State University is in Boone, and every year, thousands of college students enter the town, ready to learn and have some fun in the mountains.

A few must-see sites in Boone are the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, Howard’s Knob, Tweetsie Railroad, and Grandfather Mountain.

Address: Boone, NC

4: Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk
Kitty Hawk is one of the best small towns in NC | Flickr/Tim Menzies

Kitty Hawk used to be called Chickahawk, but no matter what it is called, it is still a place of beauty.

This vacation town is in the Outer Banks, and many people visit to go to one of the fabulous beaches for some time in the sun and the sand.

There are more than 1,800 acres at the Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve that people can explore as they look for wildlife.

Kitty Hawk is also where the Wright Brothers decided to launch their gliders from 1900-1903.

Address: Kitty Hawk, NC

5: Bath


Bath is considered North Carolina’s first incorporated town, and eventually, it's also the first port. This historic town was the site of Cary’s Rebellion in 1711 and the Tuscarora War from 1711 until 1715.

Blackbeard, known as Edward Teach, was a famous pirate who used to live in Bath.

Many people have ventured over to the ruins of Plum Point, which is where it is thought that Blackbeard lived many years ago and has tried to find his buried treasure.

Address: Bath, NC

Also Read: The Most Beautiful Small Towns in America

6: Hillsborough


Hillsborough is a quaint little town in North Carolina that lies on the banks of the Eno River.

The architecture in this town has been around for three centuries, and many people find that this town is the perfect getaway destination.

Throughout the year, multiple events happen in Hillsborough, including art walks, live music, farmers' markets, and festivals.

Whether a person enjoys the arts, history, or outdoor adventures, they will find exactly what they need in Hillsborough.

Address: Hillsborough, NC

7: Pinehurst

Flickr/Mike Renlund

Golf and Pinehurst are one and the same, which is no wonder since Pinehurst is considered the home of golf in America.

While golf may be at the top of everyone’s list when they are in Pinehurst, there are many other activities to enjoy as well.

People will want to explore the Pinehurst Greenway System and the Reservoir Park, visit the Arboretum, and participate in a Pinehurst Historic Walking Tour.

Address: Pinehurst, NC

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8: Saluda


Saluda is considered a historic Victorian mountain village, and it is filled with spectacular scenery, tranquility, and amazingly fresh mountain air directly from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

People will find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy as well as multiple museums, art galleries, and theaters to visit.

No one should leave Saluda without visiting the area's amazing waterfalls located in the mountains.

Address: Saluda, NC

9: Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock

There is no town more storylike than Blowing Rock, and it is commonly referred to as the Crown of the Blue Ridge.

The most popular attractions in the town are the Blowing Rock and Tweetsie Railroad.

There are numerous hiking trails in the area, including ones at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Julian Price Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blowing Rock has a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums, but they also have a small number of farms and wineries.

With so many things to do, it definitely is one of the best small towns in NC.

Address: Blowing Rock, NC

Beaufort is a coastal town where people can arrive by boat and dock before exploring this cute North Carolina small town.

Everyone must experience the Beaufort Historic Site as well as the North Carolina Maritime Museum, but after history lessons have commenced, the real fun can begin.

Kayaks and canoes can be placed in Taylor’s Creek and people can paddle all day long into the evening hours.

Numerous restaurants offer ocean views, and the best time to be at one of those restaurants is when the sun is setting over the water.

However, the most breathtaking views in Beaufort can be found on Carrot Island, where the wild ponies roam free.

Address: Beaufort, NC

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